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Bid to expel UK diplomat 'invalid'

Efforts to expel Britain's ambassador from Ivory Coast have been dismissed as "invalid" by the Foreign Office.

The UK representative has reportedly been ordered to leave by incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo, who is clinging to power despite being widely regarded as losing elections to opposition leader Alassane Ouattara in November.

The move is retaliation after London announced it would no longer recognise Gbagbo's ambassador. Canadian diplomats have also apparently been asked to leave.

But a Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "The British government recognises Alassane Ouattara as the democratically-elected president of Ivory Coast.

"It recognises the legitimacy of statements made by or on behalf of his government.

"The British government does not accept the validity of statements made by others."

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